teaching writing to L2 learnersPateyeva Natalia, PhDTeacher trainer“Writing is a way of talking without beinginterrupted.”Jules Renard
By the end of this workshopparticipants will be able to:Assess the issues involved in teaching writing in their ownclassrooms.Identify the approaches involved in producing different types ofwriting.Match writing sub-skills to a process writing framework.Analyze writing tasks from the point of view of audience, purpose andcontext.To provide an understanding on the principles of teaching writingTo provide a short overview on how writing is taught and evaluatedby teachers to achieve certain objectives
The main points to present1. Writing at glance and types of classroomwriting performance2. The principles of teaching writing3. How student writing is evaluated
To communicate over distancesTo communicate across timeTo participate in societyTo remember and recordTo “make thought visible” and express yourinner self
Writing at glance Writing is the last skill of language after listening, speakingand reading Many consider that writing is the most difficult skill amongthe other three To be able to write well, one should work hard to practicewriting in addition to understanding writing concept and tools
writers need :a purpose – a reason for writing,an audience –the readers,a context – background information to make it meaningfuland to motivate learners to write.Consider examples of writing tasks fromtextbooks in terms of how they meet the abovecriteria.
1. There is no audience. To make it moremeaningful ask learners to write an article for aninternational student magazine, special issue onfestivals around the world.2. The task works as it is but could be made moremeaningful by having half the class write thecomplaint and the other half write the manager’sresponse.
3. The task provides no guidance to help learnerswrite the story. Support could be given bysupplying pictures, prompt words, gappedsentences, the beginning of a story etc. If thelearners work in groups, they could write thestories for their classmates.
4. This task could be contextualized, for example,“You are having a party. Your classmates are yourguests. Draw a map from the school to your home,without indicating exactly where your home is. Nowwrite directions.” The ‘guests’ then have to pinpointthe home of the ‘host’ from the directions.
5. This needs a purpose and an audience. Forexample:”Imagine you are at a crossroads in yourlife. You have an appointment with a ‘life coach’but first she has asked you to write about yourself.What can you tell her to prepare for your meeting?Think about your plans and ambitions etc.
Takes too much timeLoss of student focus / interestNot suited to some personalitiesStudents need to be taught it (peerediting / planning / stages)Restricts spontaneity and range ofwriting activities.
The creation of a productWriting seen as a communicative andpurposeful activityTeaches students to plan and researchStudent collaboration is developed.Feedback and response given.
Isnt it surprising how many things, ifnot said immediately, seem notworth saying ten minutes fromnow? ~ Arnot L. Sheppard, Jr.
Speaking Vs WritingImpermanent PermanentImmediate (unplanned) Delayed (planned)Variation / Casual Conventional / StylizedLow lexical density High lexical densityHigh Paralinguistics Low ParalinguisticsCommunal activity Solitary ActivityUniversal Learned
Simple sentences Complex sentencesVoiced Thought / ReadPronounce SpellFeedback No feedbackPause / Intonation PunctuationSpeaking Vs Writing
The evaluation of writing, especially in a process-orientedclassroom is a thorny issue. In writing class, a teacher servesas a guide and facilitator of students’ performance in theongoing process of developing a piece of written work, but atthe same time he/she should also serve as a judge. To serve this dual role requires wisdom and sensitivity. Fairness and explicitness in what teacher takes into account inevaluation are the keys of being writing judge.
Then how to evaluate?There are six general categories that are often thebasis for the evaluation of student writing1. Content : thesis statement, related ideas,development of ideas through personal experience,illustration, facts, opinions2. Organization : effectiveness of introduction, logicalsequence of ideas, conclusion, appropriate length
How is the system of weighting of each?Please note that the most evaluative feedback ateacher may give is the comments, both specific andsummative of student’ workIf numerical score is needed, a teacher can establish apoint scale for each category (e.g. 0 – 5) and returnthe paper with six different scores on them.If single grade or score is needed, consider weightingthe first few categories more heavily, or you mayemphasize on the content based flavor of theevaluation
ReferencesWriting, Tricia Hedge, OUP (1998).HD. Brown. (2001). Teaching by Principles. London: LongmanSimple Writing Activities (Oxford Basics), Jill and CharlesHadfield, OUP (2000).Process Writing, White R & Arndt V, pp 51–52; pp 69-77; pp108-109; pp 122-123, and pp 137–138,Longman (1991).Harmer J, The Practise of English Language Teaching, pp255-268 Longman (2001).Ur P, A Coursebook in Language Teaching, pp159-175 CUP(1996).http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/think/articles/approaches-process-writing
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